Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Back to the Hills and Parents Afoot

Another early Saturday morning brought a new course to my feet and a new sense of motivation. This time our run was to be on the slopes of the Santa Monica Mountains, and my mom and DAD were in town to witness it all. The 6:30 meeting time was a bit rough for me because my body did not want to fall asleep til about 12:30 the night before. Fortunately the excitement of my parents being in town and getting back to running on some hills was enough to drag me out of bed in the morning. Once up my body struggled to keep up with my enthusiasm; so slapped myself around a bit and chugged some water. After fueling my body with peanut butter toast and a peach, it was just a matter of jumping into my shoes and blowing out the door.

At our meeting spot we shuffled through our usual stretch routine, and then took a small hike up to our starting point. Today, because we were running 6 miles, we were required to wear a waterbelt (basically a belt that holds a water bottle). As soon as we took off my waterbelt made itself known by sliding off my waste and to my knees, a frustrating start to a much anticipated run. As the group scurried ahead, I was stuck feverishly fussing with my belt. Fortunately Coach Brett found me and gave me the tip to wear it across my chest commando style. I slung it on and took off.

My position at the back of the pack was not discouraging to me. I knew that if I remained steadfast I would be able to catch my pace group. I am used to running on hills, so I knew to ratchet back my pace to about 75%; this gave me the energy to run consistently through the whole course. Little by little I inched my way through the pack. As much as I could I gave each of my teammates a “Go Team!”. The closer I got to the front, the more spaced out runners became. "Where was Eloy", I thought. No sooner had that thought crossed my mind, than I saw Eloy on the horizon. With the top of the hill far into the distance I eagerly confirmed to myself that I did it - I caught my pace group.

It was not long before I caught up and eventually passed my pace group. I made it to the top of the path and climbed the stairs to the top of the missile platform. Yeah missile platform. At the top of the hill were the relics of a Nike Missile platform (cold war stuff). Quite a view. I hung out up there for about five minutes throwin out high fives and drinking down water.

The moment hit me and I bolted. Down the hill I went with an ever so slow and dainty pace. I think my pace downhill rivaled in slowness to that of my uphill pace. Downhill is not my favorite because it is way harder on the joints. I took it slow and easy, bursting into faster paces when I could. I hit the final stretch of the course with an ear to ear grin… UPHILL!! I took this hill with a fierce assault, giving it my all and with great pleasure.

My finish line could not have been better. Both Jamie and my parents were there cheering me on as I came running in. Seeing their faces and hearing their enthusiasm was an incredible moment for me. I am so lucky to have such a supportive family. I felt very proud of what I was doing, and to have my dad there to witness it and cheer me on meant the world to me.

Try and keep up with me.

1 comment:

Joo said...

OK... so the inspiring story of a man on his quest to fight for his family while battling the demons of asphalt and nature is a pretty cool story and a great read! So I'm asking myself why hasn't anyone left a comment?

I'm thinking that we're all ashamed of how pitifully out of shape we are and are so awe'd by how awesome you have been in training and getting ready for the big run, that we are too jealous to say anything. Or at least I am! HA HAA HAA.....

Keep on pushing... you're doing great and remember when you hit the wall while you run... your family and friends are all behind you. We may not be there physically running with you but our spirits are with you!